Raffi Hovannisian Discusses New Post

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"March 16 bears important potential for rediscovery of the path to democracy–legitimacy–and expression of collective will," said former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian who was appointed chief of the information and publications department on March 5. He stressed the necessity of equal conditions and an information field for all the presidential candidates during the election campaign.

Hovannisian noted that his assignment to the new position was dictated by his desire to contribute to the development of the information field in Armenia. "I do not think that is a post–but a sphere with great potential which was paid very little attention," he said. According to him–following his term as Foreign Minister–his return to state service was encouraged by Prime Minister Armen Sargssian and now Robert Kocharian. Hovannisian refrained from answering questions regarding the programs of the information department–its role in the state system and noted that first of all he needs to get familiarized with the information system and current problems.

Regarding double citizenship–Hovannisian said that "it is necessary and demanding for us to involve the whole nation with its potential to ensure progress in Armenia". He noted that a citizen of Armenia’should obviously become President of Armenia. Hovannisian hoped that the problem of double citizenship will be solved in the near future.

As for the legality of Robert Kocharian’s registration as presidential candidate–Raffi Hovannisian opined that Armenia’s Constitution which "is written for the year 2001," has many shortcomings. "It is necessary to try applying the Constitution in public life and the election process until we have a more perfect and precise one," he said. Hovannisian said the Constitution must be commented on by the Central Electoral Committee or court. "Let those who refer to the Constitution know that there are relevant institutions entitled to comment on it," he said.

Hovannisian also assessed the foreign ministry’s work for the period since his resignation. According to him–the foreign ministry has not always displayed a complex and universal approach. He said the foreign minister’s position and staff problems were extremely politicized. "Even though there are truly hardworking and professional people at the foreign ministry–there are also political appointees who are the slaves of political parties and not the state. Today they represent an unnecessary burden which has a negative impact on diplomatic work in general," he said.

According to Hovannisian–the speech he made in Istanbul in 1992–which was followed by his resignation from the post of foreign minister was not an emotional outburst but a diplomatic necessity. "History will show–the brackets will open and we will see what were the factors to cross there," Hovannisian said.

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